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Meralco escapes late Converge run to seal place in PBA Comm's Cup QFs

Zach Lofton soars for the easy layup. PBA Images
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Meralco built a huge lead just enough to hold off Converge's last push for a 105-99 win in their PBA Commissioner's Cup game on Sunday at the Ynares Center in Antipolo.

The Bolts slowly pulled away in the first three quarters and were ahead, 93-70, with 7:20 left in the fourth quarter.

Meralco was still up, 101-81, with less than four minutes left when Converge rallied back to cut the lead down to six, 103-97, with 20 seconds to go.

The comeback, however, fell short as the Bolts got to milk nine seconds off the clock before Chris Banchero hit two insurance free throws.

Zach Lofton led Meralco, which booked a spot in the quarterfinals after winning its fourth straight game to move up to 6-1, with 30 points, eight rebounds, and two assists.

Banchero added 21 points, three rebounds, and two steals off the bench, while Allein Maliksi chipped in 20 points, seven rebounds, and one assist.

Chris Newsome tallied a double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds with three assists and one steal.

Justin Arana had 25 points and 11 rebounds, while Alec Stockton added 21 points, three rebounds, and one assist for Converge, which dropped to 1-7.

Jamil Wilson was held to 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting, although he too had 11 rebounds, six assists, and two steals.

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